Cheat Sheet: How to Hire Residential General Contractors in Chicago

Residential general contractors specialize in overseeing and executing residential projects of any scale. It may be a custom home building, a new construction — or the long-awaited interior remodels.

In order to hire the best executor for your particular task, you have to keep in mind a few things: search in your geographic area, choose only an experienced licensed contractor, check out the portfolio, read through the contract draft, receive free competitive quotes, and have a proper chat with your potential contractor's representative.

Want to know other steps? Read this guide that we have prepared specially for you.

What services do residential contractors provide?

Usually, it is a full-scale range of building or remodeling services. That includes everything from getting the required permits to putting final touches on a renewed interior or handling the keys from a freshly built dream home.

There are companies on the market that specialize in one particular branch of business — for example, just home improvement.

And it makes total sense to work with them if you plan, let's say, a kitchen remodel. And to choose a design build firm if you plan a large project of a modern residence.

The range of essential services that residential contractors provide, include:

  • Custom home building
  • Luxury homes design and construction
  • Environmental design
  • Energy efficient homes
  • Masonry projects
  • Home repair
  • House or room additions
  • Kitchen remodel
  • Bathroom remodels
  • New bathroom construction
  • Bedroom or living room remodel
  • Interior design

Each of these services is performed by the residential contractor himself or a trustworthy subcontractor that he hired (for example, HVAC — heat and air-conditioning works, plumbing, electric works, etc.). Find out about the complete scope of services by calling the companies that you like.

Best contractors for residential projects: who are they?

When choosing the best contractor near you, keep in mind a few essential rules:

  • The best companies to work with are the ones that have extensive experience on the particular market. That means a big portfolio of successfully completed projects and tons of real testimonials
  • Just a few residential or general contractors in the Chicago, iL area, are considered the best. There is a good reason for that: not only do they just perfectly oversee and manage the jobs that they do, but they also provide great customer service. No matter if you come to them with a large project or a modest kitchen and bath remodels: the level of attentiveness and the ability to listen are essential. Their work might not be significantly cheaper than that of competitors: it's the quality and satisfaction that matter. Imagine a family owned business that takes care of its clients like a beloved grandma. Something like that!
  • Any construction or remodeling company must have a registration certificate, provided by the state
  • Construction company of any scale — whether it is a small business or a big — must have other certificates, required by your state
  • All residential contractors must have a license. But there are peculiarities. For example, Illinois doesn't have a state requirement for general contractors, but Chicago does need special licenses for different project values. Check out your local rules to know what to ask for!
  • Residential or general contractors must have a relevant insurance that will cover expenses in case of accidents and unexpected delays
  • The contract draft must be clear and transparent: no hidden costs, no 100% down payments etc.
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10 essential points of the contract

Congratulations, you've followed our advice and chose the best contractor for the fair price. Now it is time to sign a contract. Take time to read it through and clear up all uncertainties. It is highly advisable to do it with a lawyer!

Each contract must contain the following information:

  1. Detailed information of your contractor: the list of all the licenses and registration data
  2. Detailed description of the project
  3. Schedule / steps of the project with the exact dates of their completion
  4. List of contractor's and contractee's responsibilities
  5. Detailed description of penalties in case the terms of the contract, including deadlines or responsibilities, are violated
  6. Final cost of the project (without any hidden or doubtful costs)
  7. The terms of withholding the payments by the contractor/contractee
  8. Warranties and insurance
  9. Force majeur conditions
  10. Date, signatures of both parties

Why choose a local remodeling and construction management company?

Because local companies know the agenda and all peculiarities that might be hidden from the eyes of an "alien" contractor. That can include shortage of supply of certain materials, rare characteristics of soil and water, difficulties of getting building permits and so on.

Also, a local company is much easier to perform the research on: ask neighbors, go check out their completed projects, pop into their office and meet the staff in person.

Here at Fortress Home, we have been the Chicago local contractors for more than 20 years. We are a family owned business and have managed to obtain a "family" approach to our customers.

About 70% of all our past clients are coming back when a new residential project appears on the horizon. Our work history contains hundreds of successfully completed home constructions or renovations — always at better prices.

Give us a call at 773-770-8607 and we will do our best to make your dream home come true. It is very important to consider all details and to choose home builders wisely.

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Frequently Asked Questions

What is a residential general contractor?

A residential general contractor is a company that provides a full spectrum of services for residential projects. It can be building custom homes, fixing your master bathroom, remodeling the patio — anything that the term "residential" might possibly include. It must have all the required paperwork from the local licensing board, have registration certificate and have a solid experience in business.

What does a residential general contractor do?

Residential general contractors' job is to oversee, manage and execute a construction or remodeling project of any scale. It includes: arranging all the required permits, hiring subcontractors, preparing the plot, ordering the materials and transferring them to the site, building, masonry, plumbing, electric, HVAC works, as well all of the finishing touches including plastering, installing wallpaper, cabinets and sidings and many more. The scale of work would totally depend on a project: it can be a minor repair or a major home construction.

What is the difference between a general contractor and a residential contractor?

The difference between a full service general contractor and a residential contractor is that the latter specialized only in residential projects — home construction and home remodeling.

Some companies prefer to do big and small residential building projects, while others perform all sorts of home remodel.

A general contractor does both — residential and commercial projects. They are building custom homes, constructing residences, performing corporate remodeling projects, and overseeing the building processes of different commercial spaces.

Which one to choose — general or residential contractors?

It totally depends on your project and preferences. Check out your candidates' portfolios, choose the style and the approach that you like, compare the quotes, and have a chat with the company representative. Customer satisfaction is the key goal of true professionals — and they are not afraid to be transparent and dedicate time to a potential client. Ask many questions, inquire about the licenses, certification, and registration paperwork, and ask for a contract draft.

Go local! Only companies that know the area can really dig into your problem. They have a good network of subcontractors, suppliers, etc, they know the quality of the soil and air.

If you are looking for residential contractors in the Chicago area, iL, give us a call at 773-770-8607 . We've been on the market for more than 20 years and would be happy to give a free consultation and assist you with any residential project.

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Fortress Home understands how important it is for the customer to implement the future home project at the highest level. And our clients understand that achieving such a level is possible only by choosing a reputable and competent general contractor. If you are one of those customers, you can always rely on us when looking for a reliable construction partner for your new home or renovation.

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